Monthly Archives: December 2011

Thursday December 1, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

I have been tempted to take something from a store and on two occasions I admit to having done so! It’s such an easy thing to do, sometimes: no supervision, no cameras, nothing to stop you but your conscience. My conscience has stopped me from doing a lot of things. I’m grateful to have one – and whether it’s a quality that’s learned or a gift from birth, everyone must have one. I tried to make sure that my kids knew the difference between right and wrong but even with the most rigorous explanations, they still had to find out for themselves what it was like to deal with guilt and retribution.

Saturday December 3, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

When I was about six, I took a small purse from a local variety store. I also confess: when I was about 35, I stole a skipping rope from Ikea. I don’t know why I did it. I had the opportunity and I thought my daughter would play with it. I ran to the car, hiding it in my other packages and drove away like a thief with a prize. It was exciting, actually. I didn’t need or want this thing, but I got away with an illegal act and it was fun. At least until I got home.

By then, the thrill had been replaced by a litany that played over and over in my head; “What did you do that for, you idiot?!” I mailed the skipping rope back to the store with a note to say that I had taken it by mistake; that I’d forgotten to pay for it. I never heard from Ikea- but I didn’t want their thanks. The sense of relief was all that I needed!

Sunday December 4, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Here is where my folks differed a great deal; my dad was always up for a hug, Mom was not. She needed her space and didn’t appreciate being interrupted when she was in the middle of something – even for a bit of cuddling. She was always very busy. Life wasn’t easy for the moms of the 50’s. We had no car. We had a wringer washer, a leaky icebox, and a gas stove that required an engineering degree to operate. She made bread regularly and most of our clothing. She canned fruit, grew a veg and flower garden, and did all the paper work for the family and the business. She shopped and cooked and cleaned and took care of two active kids, so when she did get a few minutes to herself, she wanted to be left alone – Please!

She had endless patience. She could do or fix or make just about anything. She was an artist and a writer and she should have gone to university – except that her father didn’t believe in educating women! To him, it was a waste of money and time. Mom was an amazing person. We respected and admired her. She worked so hard. She gave and did so much… but, it was our dad who supplied the affection.

Monday December 5, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

I enjoyed spinning this story along for a while. December is always a difficult month when it comes to money- and the temptation to take things to give as gifts to others is very strong. I hoped that by showing how hard it was for Michael to live with his conscience I might deter another young person from doing some “Christmas shoplifting”. This story was based on a true incident. Aaron had taken a toy from the Hudson’s Bay store and confessed when I asked him where the money had come from to buy it.

Thursday December 8, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

When a child – or anyone – rights a wrong, they need recognition. To have Michael return the scarf without some praise for his honesty would have been wrong. For every manager who would punish a gesture like this, there are many more who will acknowledge the courage required when a thief returns what was taken and is ready to face the music! In this case, Michael faced both his mother and the store manager proving he had “strength of character”!

Friday December 9, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

The thing about writing a sit-com style of strip is that secondary characters have to be there on hand to deliver “straight lines” These comments they would likely NOT say in real life, but do so here, in order to make the dialogue interesting. Quotes like Lawrence’s here are added so the reader can weigh the outcome: Since I got away with it, would I have taken the stolen article back or would I have been nuts to do so?

Sunday December 11, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

A big kid in my neighbourhood once told me that my butt would fall off if I unscrewed my belly button. I believed him. I have an “inny” and it was hard to see just how the “button” was engineered in there. In fear of dire consequences, I asked my dad if this was true and he laughed out loud. He assured me that my belly button was a permanent decoration and I was not to worry about losing my behind. He did tell me, however, that if I screwed up my face… it would stay that way.

Wednesday December 14, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

I remember lying on the couch the day before Christmas, watching the clock. My dad walked in to the living room and bragged that he knew how to make the time go faster. I said I didn’t believe him and the game was on. He took me to the basement and had me help him empty the “clinkers” from the wood and coal furnace. He let me relight the fire and watch the rolled newspapers and kindling ignite. We refilled the small metal humidifier and made space in the coal bin for another load. After a bath and a snack, the clock had moved an hour. He was right. My dad had made the time go faster!

Thursday December 15, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

As a teenager, I often worked at Woodwards – a big department store in Vancouver. Every Christmas, at the last possible moment, anxious men would come into the store, desperately looking for “the right thing” for wives and girlfriends. Because my dad was a jeweller, I was most comfortable in the watch and jewellery department- which was the first place these crazed gents would go.

Being a “shopper”, I always looked around the store to see what perfect gifts I could find- for a mom or a girlfriend. I could always suggest something better than the fast “OK, that gew-gah looks good- I’ll take it!”

I was often given “time out” to take people to other departments where I’d point out a beautiful purse, glove and scarf set or unique linens or cookware. So many times, these men would return after Christmas and thank me for the ideas and it made me feel great! Who knew that in a few more decades, “professional shopper” would become a career!

Saturday December 17, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

I love having adult children. They tell me the truth NOW about things I suspected when they were little. I just found out that both kids knew exactly where to find my hidden cache of Yuletide gifts. Even worse, they actually unwrapped and carefully rewrapped them! The one concession was that Katie admitted to being disappointed on Christmas morning when she unwrapped gifts that were no longer a surprise. As her grandfather was fond of saying: “Cheaters never prosper!”

Monday December 19, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Getting the kids ready for tree cutting trip took almost as much time as the event itself. Bundling them into layer after layer of winter duds followed by a drive out into the bush was a challenge. Follow this with a tiring search for the right tree and you have a cold and hungry family ready to take down the first semi suitable shrub in the area.

Tuesday December 20, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

The annual trek into the bush to get our Christmas tree was a Lynn Lake ritual. The trouble was that the good trees were only visible in the summer. You’d have to tag the tree and hope someone else didn’t cut it down before you did! December temperatures would often dip below -39C so you had to know where you were going and take your tree fast – before you froze to the spot where you were standing. A frozen trunk wasn’t always the easiest thing to chop or saw through, either!

Thursday December 22, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Kids are always excited about Christmas. Moms spend so much time preparing for the big day that their fun only lasts for a few hours on the morning of the 25th- before the great feast! Moms don’t get the same bang for the buck as the rest of the clan, whereas Dads are far more into “Santa Claus” than they let on. Even though he knew what was in most of them, I would find my husband sniffing and shaking the boxes under the tree when he thought nobody was looking.

Friday December 23, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

My brother and I were allowed to open one gift and our stocking if we got up before our parents did. Naturally, we were up before 6am, whispering in the dark as we sniffed out the right gift to open. Our dad, not wanting to miss any of the fun, was soon sitting under the tree next to us, waiting for Mom to make the coffee. Nothing could be opened until she had a coffee in her hand. Even now, the smell of fresh brewed coffee on Christmas morning signals that it’s time for the greed-fest to begin.

Sunday December 25, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

After all of the preparations and expense; after the cards and the phone calls and the waiting for the clan to gather, the actual day of celebration seemed to be over in a flash. After getting the kids to sleep and the kitchen cleaned up I remember falling into bed dead tired, buzzing from too much food, company and excitement. Still, the sleep that came after everything was over was a deep and satisfying one- knowing I had a whole year to prepare for the next Christmas!

Monday December 26, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Every year, New Year’s Eve was celebrated in a private home; all of us taking turns hosting the event. We had a pretty nice rec room downstairs: a bar, big bathroom, two large couches to sleep on and lots of chairs. When it was our turn to have the big bash, I decorated as best I could with whatever was available at the local shops and applied my mother in law’s recipe for a good time: “make sure everyone is a little sauced before you serve the food”.

Tuesday December 27, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

In reality, it was I who felt uncomfortable in a crowd. My husband fit nicely into any large group and could dig into any conversation easily. If the gathering was at our place, I knew my role. But if it was elsewhere, however, I would rather help the hostess in the kitchen than try and fit in with the guests. Despite the public speaking and all the travelling I do, I’m still out of my element when I’m in a crowd!

Wednesday December 28, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

I enjoy company, but I always seem to make too much food. I make hors d’oeuvres, salads, mixed drinks and have munchies on hand, so when it comes time for dinner, everyone is too full to eat anything. I always have a ton of perishable leftovers, which then go into the fridge to die. Party food is only good when there’s a party!

Friday December 30, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

The pharmacist hosted the first New Year’s Eve party we ever attended in Lynn Lake. Because the liquor store was in the pharmacy, libation flowed. It didn’t take long before my husband was leaning dangerously. Fearing we’d make a scene in front of the town’s professionals, I insisted we walk home. As we shuffled the six blocks between houses, we heard a truck behind us. It was the pharmacist and all the guys from the party. They were hanging out the windows… wildly cheering us on!

Saturday December 31, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

The day after the party, my husband was really under the weather. Surprised by how miserable he was, I asked him if he remembered the good ol’ university days when drinking was a sport and the results taken for granted. His response was “I’ve never been drunk before! This is the first time!” I guess he was saving the worst for last.